I invited my high school classmate who then became a college sorority sister, Kacey Audlin, to write a guest post for today's Birth Story Friday. She had two unmedicated births and her pictures speak volumes to me about her birth experiences.
Although she did and her husband did not take Bradley Method® classes, the same themes we convey to our students applied in their births. Educate yourself, plan and prepare for your birth, be prepared for variations, and Trust the Process.
Kacey's Birth Stories:
I am the mother of two beautiful boys and am fortunate to have had wonderful birth experiences with both of them. My first son, Cooper was a water birth in the hospital with a midwife and my second son, Levi, was born at home. I encourage other women to consider home birth and water birth and know that birth is something to be enjoyed and not afraid of.
I never took a full birthing class series but I did go to just one of the classes specifically about water births. I did read several books, including "Ina May's Guide To Childbirth" [by Ina May Gaskin], which was nice – it gave individual first person birthing stories and was geared toward natural/midwife births.
My best advice is to stay calm and learn to focus on something else when the contraction pain comes on. Pinch your finger and think about that feeling/focus on that part of your body (that's what I did) and before you know it – the contraction is over. Like my midwife with my first son told me, "Each contraction has a purpose so don't resist it, each one gets you that much closer to the end of labor and to holding your little one!" Just remember that the process is completely natural, women have been doing it for thousands of years, and everything will turn out great. The main thing is really your FOCUS. Don't focus on the pain; focus on the task at hand and the process. It really is a miracle!
Don't let yourself get discouraged if your birth doesn't go exactly how you pictured it every step of the way or if details of your birth plan are altered – just go with the flow whatever that may be. In the end you'll have a beautiful baby of your creation – which is so mind-boggling!
With Cooper I was home until around 3-4 hours before he was born and I really enjoyed this time laboring at home. That motivated me to want have Levi at home. You are certainly more relaxed in your own space.
My water broke around 4:30 AM the day before he was born. At that time I knew that I wanted to get the most rest possible so I just went back to bed and slept in late that morning. Contractions hadn't started yet so I called my midwife who then recommended that I drink a castor oil concoction (it wasn't too bad as I mixed it with vanilla ice cream!) to get things going. It worked as mild contractions started.
When I went in to see my midwife at 8PM I was 3 cm dilated and she recommended that I go home, have a glass of wine to help me relax, take a couple Tylenol PM, and try to get some sleep. That is exactly what I did and I actually slept through around 4 hours of labor! They say you can't sleep if your truly in labor, but I guess I am a good sleeper!
I needed to be at the hospital around 24 hours after my water broke either way to get antibiotics- and this way I would get more time at home. When I got to the hospital it was around 5:15AM and at that time I was 6-7 cm dilated.
Part of my birth plan was my desire to have as much privacy as possible with minimal medical intervention and the ability to move around the whole time. I got everything I asked for as there was only my husband and I, my midwife on and off as she left to give me my space, and one nurse at the very end. I was able to walk around freely the entire time except when I got my IV antibiotics upon arrival - and boy does being mobile really help in my opinion!
Around 8:15 AM the contractions were getting more intense, my midwife checked me and said, "if you want to have a water birth you better get in the tub!" I was 10 cm dilated and ready to push! I hopped in the tub pushed for about a half an hour, and my beautiful son was born in the water at 8:52 AM. I grabbed him and slowly brought him to the surface of the water. After admiring him in amazement and announcing "it's a boy!", I brought him to my chest to nurse him for a little bit. He wasn't whisked away for weighing right after he was born (which was also part of my plan), instead I just sat there with my husband enjoying our little miracle. It was truly an amazing experience.
My birth with Cooper went so beautifully and I enjoyed laboring at home so much that I decided to do a home birth with my second. My midwives visited my home a few weeks before my due date so that they knew where I lived and they dropped off some equipment including a birthing tub. My due date of 1/8 came and went and at my midwife appointment at 2PM on 1/11 she said the baby was really low and she thought it would be any time now. I left the appointment and started having contractions on my way home!
We went home, got our birthing tub ready and all of our equipment gathered, and let the midwife know that things were under way. I thought things were getting a little more intense around 9PM and let my midwife know. She was going to gather herself, pick up another midwife, and be on her way. After I showered around 10:30PM I thought things had "lightened up" a little and was trying to be considerate to my midwives by not bringing them out to the house too early- so I let them know that my contractions weren't as intense. She recommended I try and get some sleep by having a glass of wine and some Tylenol PM. Although I never fell asleep I did relax until around 2AM when things started to really intensify. I called her to let her know, especially because I live around 35 minutes from her and it was snowing like crazy!
Well, I should have known when I threw up a little (I thought it was from the wine I wasn't used to!) and when I was getting hot flashes that I was on my way to the pushing stage- and I sure was! I decided I needed to use the toilet - went in - had a big urge to push - and the baby's head was out! I called for my husband and he came in and caught the body on the next push. After announcing, "It's a boy", I brought beautiful Levi to my chest to nurse as I delivered the placenta. Although we didn't get to use the birthing tub for birthing- we did use it right after he was born for warmth and comfort. My midwives got to the house around 45 minutes after Levi was born to find a very happy and excited family.
Levi's home birth was a wonderful experience from start to finish- even the part where I underestimated how far I was into my labor (in a snowstorm to boot) and called my midwives a little too late. The home birth was intentional... the part we didn't expect was having Dave "catch the baby" because the midwives weren't here yet. We are certainly blessed- and how wonderful to be delivered by your father, in your own home, in a historic farmhouse and in a snowstorm!
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It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.